Dear friends in Christ,
I hope you’re all doing well this week and had an enjoyable 4th of July. There are a few things going on in the church to be aware of:
Outdoor Worship 7/10 &8/14
This Sunday (and 8/14), we’ll be worshiping outdoors at 10am in the outdoor chapel near the parking lot/preschool playground. The service will be more informal, and we’ll sing some classic camp songs. This week our theme is “Come to God’s Garden”, so we’ll be singing some songs about creation. You’re welcome to bring a chair and something for shade. As of right now, the weather looks good for Sunday.
We will record the service and post it online later on on Sunday for those who are worshiping from home.
Upcoming Memorial Service
Margaret Kennerly: 7/13@11am in the Sanctuary
VBS: Thank You!
This past week was our first in person VBS since 2019, and our staff, volunteers, and excellent campers made it a success. Thank you to everyone who gave their time this past week. I’ve attached a couple pictures, including one of all out volunteers.
Overturn of Roe v. Wade
I’d meant to send this out last week. Jordan, who some of you might have met when she was the bridge pastor at Naugatuck, and her colleague Tracy, both pastors at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, had a really thoughtful conversation about abortion a few weeks ago. Jordan is pro choice and Tracy is pro life. I watched the conversation, and I thought both Tracy and Jordan provide very honest and faithful ways Christians can think about abortion. Given the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade, conversations like these are important as we look to what comes next. You can watch the video of their conversation on abortion here:
Summer Mission Project: School Supplies
We are collecting school supplies to help out kids needing some extra help getting everything they need to start school on the right foot. A list of all the supplies we’re looking for is attached. All donations must be in by August 15th.
Open and Affirming Update from Church Council
“The Middlebury Congregational Church Council is excited to announce that we are beginning the Open and Affirming process this fall.
In response to member feedback and inquiries over the last year, Church Council voted to form a working group to gather information about the Open and Affirming process and explore whether MCC should begin the process of an ONA (Open and Affirming) designation. (“Open and Affirming” is a designation within the United Church of Christ that indicates a congregation has voted and made a covenant to be officially welcoming and affirming of LGBTQ people after a process of discernment and education.)
The ONA working group has reviewed a number of resources and met with representatives from the Southern New England Conference and area churches who have recently completed an ONA process, and the group report was brought to our Church Council. After hearing the report of the ONA working group, the Church Council unanimously voted at our June meeting to begin an Open and Affirming process, with educational events and discussions to begin this fall. The ONA working group is now the Open and Affirming committee and has been made an official committee of the Church Council. The ONA committee will make regular reports to Church Council on planned events, member feedback and progress.
The process at our church will begin with educational events and discussions, and during that part of the process there will be opportunities for member feedback and participation. Depending on the feedback and will of the congregation we will either continue with our educational programming or the Church Council will decide to call a meeting of the congregation to vote on whether or not we will officially be designated as an Open and Affirming congregation.
We are at the beginning of a process whose direction will be determined by our collective voices. We do not have a specific timeline, rather we will work collaboratively with and move according to the will of our church.
We are looking forward to beginning the ONA process together and seeing where the light of the Holy Spirit leads us as we enter this time of learning and discernment.
Together in Christ,
Ellen A, MCC Council Chair”
On June 27th, there was a lovely sunset here at the church, so I attached a picture of that.
This Sunday, in addition to having outdoor worship, we are continuing on in the summer sermon series on Joseph. We left off this past Sunday with Joseph at rock bottom, having been unjustly thrown into prison in Egypt. This Sunday we’ll go through how Joseph not only managed to get free of prison but also became the second in command of all of Egypt. The secret to Joseph’s success is his ability to interpret the meaning of dreams, and he’s able to be such a big help to the pharaoh, that Joseph is promoted. So, we’ll get into how all of that goes down.